1 Samuel 15 is in a way the last chapter about Saul. Here the king himself is rejected after the kingdom has previously been taken from him (1Sam 13:1414But now your kingdom shall not endure. The LORD has sought out for Himself a man after His own heart, and the LORD has appointed him as ruler over His people, because you have not kept what the LORD commanded you.”). With 1 Samuel 16 begins a new phase in God’s people, in which David is in the foreground.
God does not simply push Saul aside. The kingdom may be taken away from him, but his person gets another chance. God does this by giving him a task that is easy to carry out. He must completely destroy an arch-enemy of Israel. Anyone who loves God and His people must hate this terrible enemy. Whoever thinks like God should not have the slightest difficulty in exercising this judgment on Amalek. God gives Saul this new, but at the same time last chance. Unfortunately we will see that Saul fails.
The task can be simple, but at the same time is serious. To see the seriousness of it and also to realize that the consequences of failure are serious, we need to know who Amalek is. Amalek is mentioned for the first time in Exodus 17 (Exo 17:88Then Amalek came and fought against Israel at Rephidim.) . There he attacks Israel as soon as the people are delivered from Egypt. It is the first enemy the delivered people will face. Amalek attacks the place where God’s people are weakest and when they are exhausted. In Amalek we can see a picture of the flesh and also of Satan, who controls the flesh.
God has announced that He will destroy Amalek (Exo 17:1414Then the LORD said to Moses, “Write this in a book as a memorial and recite it to Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.”). But God also has patience with Amalek. In the book of Numbers we find a second clue of the judgment on Amalek (Num 24:7b7“Water will flow from his buckets,
And his seed [will be] by many waters,
And his king shall be higher than Agag,
And his kingdom shall be exalted.
). There the downfall of Amalek is connected with the arrival of the great King. As a foreshadowing thereof David, and not Saul, will completely defeat Amalek. Thus will the Lord Jesus let cast the devil into the abyss and accept His reign (Rev 20:1-61Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand.2And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years;3and he threw him into the abyss, and shut [it] and sealed [it] over him, so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed; after these things he must be released for a short time.4Then I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was given to them. And I [saw] the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony of Jesus and because of the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand; and they came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.5The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were completed. This is the first resurrection.6Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection; over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years.). In his farewell speech Moses recalls the extermination of Amalek (Deu 25:1919Therefore it shall come about when the LORD your God has given you rest from all your surrounding enemies, in the land which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance to possess, you shall blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven; you must not forget.). As Moses points out, the picture shows that the flesh will work easily and that we will then be an easy prey for Satan when we are weak.